Explained: France’s weekend lockdown new dates and rules
The measure has been extended for the Alpes-Maritimes coastline and the city of Dunkirk while it will last for at least three weekends in Pas-de-Calais
Communes along the Alpes-Maritimes coastline are under a weekend lockdown, leaving the usually bustling beach promenades empty Pic: PréfetAlpesMaritimes / @prefet06 / Twitter
The government announced this week an extension to the weekend lockdown in Dunkirk (Nord), which will now end at the earliest on March 28, and to the weekend lockdown in the Alpes-Maritimes, which will now cover at least this weekend (March 13 and 14).
The weekend lockdown in place in the department of Pas-de-Calais will last until at least March 28.
Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal stated on Wednesday (March 10) that an update on the Alpes-Maritimes would be given next week, with a view to lifting the restrictions.
In addition, 23 departments are still being closely monitored with the possibility of introducing extra Covid-related restrictions if necessary.
See our map below of these departments and the three areas where weekend lockdown rules apply.
Health Minister Olivier Véran called the Covid-19 situation in France “strained and worrying”, during a press conference yesterday (March 11).
The number of people in intensive care wards due to Covid-19 passed the 4,000 mark on Thursday for the first time since the end of 2020.
He said however that the spread of the virus varied region to region. He named three areas as particularly concerning: Hauts-de-France, l'Ile-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
One inhabitant of Ile-de-France is admitted to intensive care every 12 minutes, he said, calling the situation “particularly concerning”.
He did not announce any new Covid-related restrictions or relaxations.
What are the rules in the places with weekend lockdowns?
In the areas with the lockdown rules, it is only possible to leave the house for specific reasons on the weekends.
These are in addition to the reasons already set out for the curfew, such as for going to work or going out for medical reasons. The additional reasons that apply to the weekend lockdowns are:
Shopping for basic necessities including professional supplies, to pick up ordered goods, for home deliveries, and for relocations
Exercise or walking pets, for a maximum duration of one hour within a five kilometre radius of your home
Participating in authorised gatherings, including going to and from places of worship
Travel to a public service or legal professional, for an act or procedure that cannot be performed remotely.
Everyone going out in an area under lockdown will need to fill out an exemption certificate (attestation de déplacement) and tick the appropriate box.
These forms can be found on the Interior Ministry’s website here (in French or English). They are combined with the ones used to go out during the curfew. Scroll down to find the additional reasons for going out during the weekend lockdown.
You can also use the Covid-19 track and trace phone application TousAntiCovid to download an attestation to your phone.
In all three areas with a weekend lockdown, all non-essential businesses (clothes shops, hairdressers, beauty shops) will be closed during the weekend. Food shops, pharmacies, medical laboratories, tabacs, petrol stations and garages will be open.
In Pas-de-Calais, like in the Alpes-Maritimes and Dunkirk and its surrounding area, large non-food retail outlets of more than 5,000 square metres will be closed.
It is mandatory to wear a mask in the whole of the Pas-de-Calais department, including in rural areas.
Equally, the public consumption of alcohol and playing loud music in public spaces is now banned in the whole of Pas-de-Calais, the Nord and the Alpes-Maritimes.
In the 23 departments now being monitored, large shopping centres or large commercial surfaces of more than 10,000 square metres will be closed. This is a reduction from the previous rule that applied to centres larger than 20,000 square metres.
The government has asked inhabitants of these 23 departments to not leave their department or the region if they can avoid it. Common sense is to be applied.